Ascent of Whiteface Mountain on 2013-09-17

Climber: Mark Prier

Others in Party:Doyle Prier
Date:Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Whiteface Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4865 ft / 1482 m

Ascent Trip Report

We parked at the Wilmington Reservoir TH around 7:30 am and hiked in, going straight through the first junction, and then taking a right to ascend Marble Mountain at the second junction. We briefly stepped off the trail for Marble's summit, then followed the Whiteface Summit trail until we reached the cairn at the junction for Mt. Esther.

We took the unmarked, unmaintained trial to Lookout Mountain's summit and then on to Esther (the trail was narrow, and very wet and muddy, but easy to follow). We took a snack break on Esther, taking in the limited views before leaving. We went back to the cairn and continued on to Whiteface.

On the way up, we saw the new trail cut for the skiing facilities, but kept on walking straight ahead with the red markers. We came up to the Toll Road's immense wall/guardrail, following it up to the left until we reached the road, surprising some car tourists (who were even more surprised to see us continue on up the trail, climbing up some rocks and walking off into the distance).

This final stretch of the walk was the most memorable--beautiful views all around, small patches of ice in the shade, and plants I haven't seen since I lived in Newfoundland (like labrador tea). It is strange reaching the summit and its throngs of tourists, but we received hearty congratulations from several there. We ate our packed lunch on the summit, taking it all in and wandering through the building, reading historical info.

On the way back down, the descent was a bit more than my elderly father was prepared for, what with the constant stepping down off of rocks and not really hitting a level stretch until we were nearly out. We made it out just after dark, feeling the descent powerfully in the knees. We both felt pretty satisfied with the hike, although in the future I believe I would take the unmarked trail to Marble Mountain from the SUNY observation station off of the Memorial Highway before the toll road begins (it cuts off a considerable chunk of walking).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3533 ft / 1077 m
    Elevation Loss:3533 ft / 1077 m
    Distance:11.8 mi / 19 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3533 ft / 1077 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route:Wilmington Reservoir trail to Marble Mountain, Wil
    Trailhead:Wilmington Reservoir TH  1332 ft / 405 m
    Time Up:8 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3533 ft / 1077 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route:Down Wilmington Trail to Marble Mountain, Wilmingt
    Trailhead:Wilmington Reservoir TH  1332 ft / 405 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: Whiteface Mountain trip

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Marble Mountain2013-09-17
2Lookout Mountain2013-09-17
3Esther Mountain2013-09-17
4Whiteface Mountain2013-09-17

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